The deposed Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, Wednesday said the 36 states and 774 local governments in the country were gulping so much of the nation’s resources and underdeveloping the country.
At a news conference to mark the 47 years of the assassination of the late Premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dasuki noted that in spite of the huge amount of money being allocated to the states and local governments in the country, it was not impacting on the generality of people due to corruption.
Said Dasuki: "You can imagine that a wife of a local government chairman is given huge amount of money as wardrobe allowance. For what? Even councillors get the same allowances. Is that in the constitution?
"The whole thing is mixed up. Look at the local government funds. The chairmen have been marginalised. All they do is to go and sign the money in Abuja and they don’t know what happens to the money.
"They will say, well I was told to sign, and I did, I don’t know what will happen to the money. So the money does not get to the people down there. That is why the governors are pushing for a joint account with the local governments," Dasuki said.
According to him, "I was the only Permanent Secretary for Local Government in the entire Northern Region, with only one minister during Sardauna. Today, there are 19 local government chairmen, with 19 permanent secretaries.
"From one region, we now have 19 states. Tell me, what progress have we made? The cost of administration and the task of ensuring accountability is too huge. The problem with Nigeria is the 36 states and the 774 governments. We don’t need them, if we want to develop.
"Why should we have 774 local governments, 36 states with 19 for the North? It is all about greed not about service. We have 19 governors, 19 deputy governors, 19 Chief Judges, everything 19 for the North alone. Imagine the cost of running them.
"Just imagine the money for allowances. What is left for development? More so those that became governors didn’t come prepared. They came by chance, so they have no plans for development. So I think the problem is the present structures," he said.
He lamented that today selfishness, greed and corruption fuelled by sycophancy is the order of the day.
He recalled that credible people did not take over after the 1966 military coup that claimed the life of the Sardauna and others, adding that the military men that executed the coup had no idea about the enormous task of governance.
"Little wonder there were all kinds of confusion that led to the civil war. And since then, we have not had credible leadership in Nigeria," he added.